Security chief in south Libya town assassinated: ministry

Armed men have murdered a security official in southern Libya, the UN-backed government said Thursday, a day after forces opposed to it said they had entered his town. (AFP)
Updated 21 February 2019
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Security chief in south Libya town assassinated: ministry

  • Libyan media said Kari, a member of the minority Tubu community, was killed when armed men raided his home in Murzuk
  • On Wednesday night, forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar said they had entered and taken control of Murzuk as part of an offensive launched in January

TRIPOLI: Armed men have murdered a security official in southern Libya, the UN-backed government said Thursday, a day after forces opposed to it said they had entered his town.
The interior ministry of the internationally-recognized unity government branded the murder of General Ibrahim Mohamad Kari, security head in the town of Murzuk, a “cowardly crime” and vowed to bring the culprits to justice.
In a brief statement, it said Kari was killed on Wednesday by “an outlawed armed group,” without giving further details.
Authorities “will pursue his murderers and bring them to justice” and “will not remain idle in the face of crimes that threaten the security and stability of the country,” it added.
Libyan media said Kari, a member of the minority Tubu community, was killed when armed men raided his home in Murzuk.
On Wednesday night, forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar said they had entered and taken control of Murzuk as part of an offensive launched in January.
Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army has said the operation is intended to “purge the south of terrorists and criminal groups” including rebels from Chad.
Haftar’s forces have accused Tubu of supporting the Chadian rebels.
Murzuk is a stronghold of the Tubus, many of whom are opposed to Haftar’s offensive, and lies in a region where tensions run high between them and Arab tribes, who have largely joined LNA ranks.
Kari’s murder also reflects the many divisions that have divided Libya since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
The Tripoli-based GNA is locked in a bitter and protracted power struggle with a parallel administration based in the country’s east and backed by Haftar’s LNA.


Palestine, Egypt offer air support as Israel battles wildfires

A firefighting aircraft flies over a forest near Kibbutz Harel, which was damaged by wildfires during a record heatwave, in Israel May 24, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 May 2019
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Palestine, Egypt offer air support as Israel battles wildfires

  • Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes on Thursday as fires raged
  • The fires were fueled by high temperatures and dry condition

JERUSALEM: Egypt and four European countries sent aircraft to help Israel battle wildfires that have forced the evacuation of some small towns, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday, as a record heatwave looked set to worsen conditions.
At an emergency briefing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had appealed for international help to combat the fires, and that firefighting planes were coming in from Greece, Croatia, Italy and Cyprus.
Egypt, on the orders of President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi, had also sent two helicopters to assist Israel, Netanyahu told reporters.
The Palestinian Authority and Russia had also offered help, Netanyahu said.
Israel braced for wildfires on Friday amid a major heat wave that shows no signs of abating.
Israel “really appreciates” the help, Netanyahu said, singling out El-Sisi for sending aid.
“I am deeply thankful for the readiness of neighbors to help us in a time of crisis, just as we help them,” Netanyahu said.
Israel’s Fire and Rescue Service said blazes in a key corridor between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were mostly under control but difficult weather remained a conflagration risk.
“As of this moment, this (containment) is being done in the best possible way, but the challenge is yet ahead of us given the weather conditions, the winds and the extreme heat,” Netanyahu said.
Some 3,500 residents of small towns in the path of the fires were evacuated on Thursday, officials said. Dozens of homes have burned down.

Evacuations
Thousands of people were evacuated from towns and dozens of homes were burned on Thursday as fires raged, fueled by high temperatures and dry conditions. Over 500 acres of woodland have burned, said Nitai Zecharya, an Israeli official from the Jewish National Fund, known for planting forests in the country.
Zecharya said that while firefighters had brought most of the blaze under control, officials remained “very stressed” about strong winds fanning flames and “spreading fires to other fronts.”
The cause of the fires remains unclear, but they erupted following the Jewish festival of Lag Ba’Omer, which observers mark with bonfires.
A sweltering heat wave is pushing temperatures in parts of the country up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 Celsius.